Tag Archives: dog behaviour

Training Tip for Dogs and Cats

Training Tip for Dogs and Cats

Timing is everything! Make sure you reward them verbally within half a second of the desired behaviour. The same goes with reprimand; if they have stopped the behaviour there is no point reprimanding them afterwards.

Dogs and cats learn by ‘direct association’ if the behaviour is rewarded with attention it is more likely to be repeated. Some behaviours, such as jumping up at you, or vocalising to be fed should be met with inattention (i.e. ignored) but you must be consistent.

Training hints: Look or Watch

While we are on the topic of training lets look at how you can teach your dog to ‘look’ (you may even want to try it with a cat, good luck!)

Teaching your dog to make eye contact with you on command can encourage your dog to look to you for direction. It can also help to hold their focus when out walking & training. What a dog is looking at you they are giving you their full attention. To start this exercise hold a treat up near your eye (your dog should be sitting and you should be standing). Ask your dog to ‘look’ or ‘watch’. You will notice their eyes will focus on the treat but then (sometimes it takes a bit) they will look to your eyes (as if to say “are you going to give it to me!?!”). When they make eye contact reward them (verbally such as “good”) and then give them the treat. Repeat the process a number of times. Try not to repeat the command (just wait patiently to reward them when they look to you). You may find with some dogs it is easier to judge when they are looking if you hold the treat out and to the side away from your eye; for other dogs they may perform better when the treat is closer. Over time you should be able to hand gesture them to look toward your eyes & then reward from your other hand or pocket. If you have an aggressive dog, speak to your vet or animal behaviourist before trying this exercise.

Dogs are better than children. Why you may ask?

Dogs don’t ask…

Dogs aren’t embarrassed to be cuddled in public

Dogs don’t ask for money (just a bit of attention)

Most dogs aren’t fussy eaters

Dogs usually come when they are called….

Its BBQ time!

It’s great to be outdoors with your pets enjoying leisure time together but watch the hazards of barbeques. Apart from the obvious hazards of jumping up and burning paws on a hot barbeque or stealing burning hot food there are also a few other hazards. The main one is onion toxicity. Onions should be a human only food. For dogs and cats it can be quite dangerous; leading to a type of anaemia. Cats are even more susceptible. Small amounts over long periods or a larger amount at once can be quite damaging. Cooked, raw and dehydrated onion should not be fed to dogs or cats. There is no benefit to feeding onion and it certainly has the potential to cause harm. For more advice speak to your vet.

Toxic foods

In the past we have talked about a number of toxic foods. One I haven’t mentioned before is Xylitol. Xylitol is commonly found in sugar free gum and lollies. It has been linked with low blood sugar in dogs and can be very harmful, even in quite small amounts. Make sure any products are kept out of reach of your animal companions; Apart from dogs it is still not clear as to what species can be harmed so just to be safe make sure it is out of reach.

For more information on training and behaviour see the ‘free articles’ page on our website. Just let us know what you would like to see and we can work on it!  The free articles on this page include;

Behaviour of older pets

DISOBEDIENCE; Hints and Tips

Hints and Tips When Moving House with Your Pet

Overview of Fears, Phobias and Anxieties in Dogs and Cats

Pulling on the lead

Separation anxiety

The loss of a pet

Training for dogs: The importance of trust.

Please let us know if you have any requests!

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Free Book Offer

Are you looking to bring a puppy into your family? Are you the proud new owner of a puppy? Or would you like to know more about bite inhibition? Then go to the link below as these two free book downloads are still available; “Before you get your puppy” and “After you get your puppy.” Both by Dr Ian Dunbar and both are great books. Follow the link below or cut and paste into your browser. http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads

Do you own a pet business or any business for that matter?

A new online business directory has just been launched and we love it so much that we have become an affiliate. Why is it so great? Apart from it being free, it is a local business directory for people who want to be found locally (within 20 meters) to globally. We like to think of it as a cross between google and the yellow pages (but better). When you register you can enter up to 250 characters to describe your business and of course its keyword linked so your business description can get you found. It’s free to register so if you’d like to register then click on the register now link. For those who want to increase their exposure online there is also an option for an advertising page ($70 per year & you can update it every day if you want) or a direct website link ($250/yr). It’s just been launched so you’ll be hearing more very soon as it launches fully; look out for Uglii! (Unique geographic listing for industry). Although we are registering businesses in the animal care industry any business can register via our site. See clevercreatures.biz for more information.

Prize winners. Our latest winners for July, August & September!

The following readers please reply to this email to claim your prize (or contact us via our webpage). These are subscribers who have also provided their postal address at the time of subscribing to enter our monthly prize draws. When you reply please give your full name so we can identify you, can you also let us know what breed of dog or cat you have. We will have all other details on record, including your postal address to which we will send your prize once you have contacted us.

Jane H with Gizmo & Biko

Courtney B with Missy, Venus, Chico & Angel

Sarah G with Lachie

Until Next time, keep those tails wagging!

From Sarah, Remy, Cayos and the team at Clever Creatures

Clever Creatures Pty Ltd
PO Box 427

Byford, Western Australia 6122



The theory behind the loose lead walking is that if a dog pulls on the lead it is a reward to move forward, therefore it is important that you don’t allow your dog to pull you forward when they pull on the lead (As the dog is getting what is wants by pulling, not walking nicely).

Each time he/she pulls forward on the lead you need to stop walking. It is helpful if you are prepared to stop walking by watching the tension within the lead. As you see the lead go tight prepare yourself to stop (This gives much faster and more accurate feedback). There is no need to say anything as you stop walking. When the lead relaxes you can walk on. Eventually he / she will realise that pulling on the lead is not rewarded.

Now, you’re thinking; but I’m not going to get very far and how on earth do I exercise my dog?

2 options (plus more instruction below):  When using a short lead you could change directions when he/she pulls on the lead. This way you can keep moving and exercise your dog without allowing him/her to pull you forward.

The 2nd option is to use an extendable lead for exercise walks; I use a short lead for training and walking along the road & use an extendable lead when down at the park etc. I give my pup a warning word when I am putting the break on (stop) and also when he is about to reach the end of the lead. Provided the extendable lead is of good quality and is the correct size for your dog it should provide little resistance & therefore not contribute to pulling. The extendable lead allows more freedom and exercise in between training your dog to walk correctly on the lead. When using the extendable lead it is still important to ensure the dog is not pulling forward when they get to the end of the lead or when the lead is locked in at a short length.

Loose lead walking and ‘Heel’

To build on the loose lead walking is the heel command: the heel command will encourage your dog to walk alongside of you.

To start with the heel command, have your dog walking on the lead at your left side (this is usually the side away from the traffic). With a treat (or toy) in your left hand hold it in front your dog to help to lure him / her in the correct position. I generally hold the lead in my right hand or have the lead over my right wrist and lightly hold it and guide it with my left hand. Do not wrap the lead around your wrist as it can be unsafe if your dog lunges ahead and pulls you off-balance. If your dog jumps up at the treat (or toy) as you are practising the heel command just ignore this, but ensure he/she cannot take the treat from you. Verbally reward your dog as he/she walks nicely at your side. Occasionally give the treat. The ideal time to reward your dog is when he/she is looking forward and relaxed.

To encourage your dog to walk correctly on the lead it is useful to combine the above two techniques. If you are having trouble with this or if your dog is too strong for you then you may wish to look at a walking harness, head collar or training collar (like a limited slip collar). A walking harness (provided it is anti-pull and not a regular harness or car harness) will help you get faster results however you should still apply the same training techniques. The head collars give good results for large or strong dogs but they take some getting used to & the dog may play up a bit when they are first used. The training collars are useful and easy to use but once again the training still needs to be done to ensure long term results.

More free articles on our Free Articles page. Visit and get helpful and valuable tips for your dogs now!

Notes by Sarah McMullen of Clever Creatures April 2011

DISOBEDIENCE; Hints and Tips

How can I prevent my puppy from becoming a disobedient dog?

An early start to training and frequent exercise sessions are necessary to prevent puppies from becoming too rowdy.  Waiting to train your puppy until it is 5 or 6 months of age can often let these disobedient behaviours take hold.  Then you have to undo behaviours you don’t like in order to get the ones you want.  Puppies are like sponges and learn very quickly, but they also have very short attention spans. Motivate your puppy to perform using positive reinforcement; i.e. make training fun! Exercise should be frequent but not excessive for young dogs; make sure it’s not just physical exercise but include enrichment and socialization as well. With early training, excitable puppies can often have their behaviour channelled in the correct direction.

Hints and Tips

Reprimands and punishment are often unsuccessful.  Punishment may reward behaviour by providing attention.  Punishment that is too harsh can lead to anxiety, fear of the owner and problems such as fear aggression, submissive urination & displacement behaviours.

Sometimes demanding behaviour is rewarded while quiet behaviour is ignored.  If this is what is happening in your home; deal with it by treating all demanding behaviour with inattention and reward calm, non-demanding behaviour with play and attention.

Energetic dogs need exercise every day. The more active the dog, the more exercise it needs. Without it your dog will vent its energy into undesirable behaviour and this can also lead to disobedience.

It is very important to practice the training that you may ultimately need & practice this in different situations (calm and quiet first and then introduce distractions).

An example of this is training the dog to sit and stay near the front entrance.

How will the dog know to sit and not run out the door when people come to visit, (a highly excitable event), if the dog has never practiced doing so? (Both when things were calm and then at distracting times).

Another example is training classes; the time when you really need your dog to respond to you is likely to be when they are distracted or in a busy area. Make sure you take your dog to training classes so they can practice training in a busy, distracting environment; don’t just practice at home!


Hints and Tips When Moving House With Your Pet

Humans aren’t the only ones who get stressed during a house move. With all the rushing around and packing boxes dogs and cats can get a little bewildered and confused. Not to mention our stress levels can have an effect on our pets as well.

A bit of preparation can help reduce the stress & potential for accidents or pets running off.

Let’s start with dogs; before the move make sure the new yard is secure, with adequate fencing and secure gates.

Check sheds, chook yards and rubbish heaps for any hazards such as rodent poison or hazardous plants or chemicals.

Where possible take your dog to the new house before the move, leave one of their beds or towels and a few toys at the premises so they become familiarised. A few visits before the move will really help. After the move; try to be there for your dog as much as possible. Don’t go straight back to work if you can avoid it. Take your dog for regular short walks and return to the house and spend time with them; both indoors and outdoors. Give the dog times so it can come in & out freely but also get them used to having doors closed. The best time to do this is when you give toys and treats and leave them for short periods of time without physical contact. The more they can see you the better so try to set yourself up in areas where they can see you but not be with you physically all the time.

Minor problems may arise if the dog is anxious. This can include attention seeking, barking, digging or trying to escape. If the dog is very anxious or has a history of separation anxiety see your vet or animal behaviourist. Room and bedding sprays using aromatherapy such as Aroma-Calm spray may help calm mild anxiety as could flowers essences such as Bach flower rescue remedy or Australian bush flowers emergency essence (We stock Aroma Calm spray, Herbal Nerve Tonic for dogs and flower essences). Extra exercise can also help with stress (humans and animals!)

Moving house with your cat

The greatest risk with cats is escaping so the move needs to be more organized or the cat may need to be boarded until you have settled the new furniture into your new house. The cat will feel more settled if the house smells the same and has familiar furniture & bedding. Pheromone sprays or room diffusers can help too; ask your vet about this before the move. These products often need to be ordered in and may take some weeks to arrive.

Make sure the cat has familiar items such as bedding, food bowls, scratching post and litter tray.

Keep the cat locked inside for the first few weeks. Some cats are ok after 1 week but if you have any doubts keep them in longer or build a run or enclosure for them. Cats can also benefit from flower essences as mentioned for dogs. Aromatherapy must be used with care for cats as they are more sensitive; in most cases room sprays are ok to use just make sure they are suitable for cats.


After a dog bite – and tips to prevent it

Some tips to prevent Dog Bites.

One; Do not tether a dog (dogs should not be tethered in a public access way; laws vary state to state so check with your local council).

Two; Always keep a close eye when dogs and children are together. Don’t become complacent.Dog Bite

Three; Never approach a tethered dog unless it is your own, and find better ways of keeping your dog under control; training or using a crate are better methods in most situations.

This is the same for dogs on their beds; if you don’t know the dog then leave it be if it’s on its bed! It will come to you if its wants to be petted.

Four; Socialise your dog & teach bite inhibition as a puppy (learn more about socialisation).

Five; Sit down with your children or go out to the park or training ground and talk about what they should or shouldn’t do when around dogs.

To learn more about dog bites and prevention, talk to your vet about referral to an animal behaviourist . For the full story from this article see the Clever Creatures newlsetter.